By Chris Scholtz
Trainers from Sydney, Victoria and South Australia are set to converge on Gundagai on Friday (November 17) for the $70,000 Snake Gully Cup. The iconic two-day Gundagai carnival, one of the most popular in country NSW, has attracted a record 359 entries including 34 nominations for Friday’s XXXX Gold Snake Gully Cup (1400m).
Sydney trainers Joseph Pride, Gary Portelli, Steve Englebrecht, Marc Conners and Garry Neale, Victorians Dan McCarthy and Craig Widdison and Morphettville trainer Dan Shepherd are represented by Snake Gully Cup nominations. Shepherd’s entry So Skilled, a last start third at Morphettville and a winner at that track in September, will be the first Adelaide-trained starter in the Snake Gully Cup in its 31-year history should he make the long trip from South Australia.
Joe Pride, well-established among Sydney’s leading trainers with 11 Group One wins to his credit since he started training in 2003, will also break new ground with his first Gundagai starter should he send his team of entries for Friday’s meeting. They include his accomplished sprinter Gamblestown in the Snake Gully Cup.
Golden Slipper-winning trainer Gary Portelli will also be making his Gundagai debut with his Snake Gully Cup entry Next Level. Fellow Warwick Farm trainer Marc Conners is among seven previous Snake Gully Cup winning stables with entries for the 2017 edition. Conners won the 2010 Snake Gully Cup with Morosi and is set to return this year with Tennessee Hussy.
Canberra trainers Matt Dale, Keith Dryden, Barbara Joseph & Paul Jones, Gratz Vella and Gundagai pair David Blundell and Jim Scobie, are other past Snake Gully Cup winners with entries for Friday’s race. Dale, who has won the Snake Gully Cup a record three times since 2006, has Tower Of Song set for this year’s race while dual winner Keith Dryden, now in partnership with Scott Collings, has nominated Beau Tirage and Ziganui.
Wangaratta trainer Dan McCarthy is aiming to become the first Victorian trainer to win the Snake Gully Cup since 2008 with former Sydney-trained 4YO Pittsburgh. The lightly-raced Pittsburgh has been in super form with three wins and a third from his four starts since joining his stable.
Other noted trainers with Snake Gully Cup entries from other regions outside the southern districts include Nick Olive (Canberra), Paul Murray (Kembla Grange), Kurt Goldman (Goulburn), Graham Payne (Cessnock), Todd Smart (Canberra) and Joe Cleary (Queanbeyan).
The Snake Gully Cup carnival on Friday November 17 and Saturday November 18 is offering a record $440,000 prizemoney.
2017 Snake Gully Cup Carnival Program
Thursday November 16: Snake Gully Cup Calcutta - Gundagai District Services Club 7.30pm
Friday November 17: Day 1 - Snake Gully Cup - Gates open 11am
Saturday November 18: Day 2 – Hair Of The Dog - Gates open 10am